It’s pouring rain in the Swiss Alps. Anyone who planned to walk, ride, shop or swim on this, our only free day of a month tour is now keeping warm in the hotel. Grey clouds are rolling in over the mountains and up the green valley. The smell of fried onions and toast are entering my room, perhaps from musicians who prefer picnicking in the room instead of braving the weather for dinner.

Last night we preformed at the Menuhin Festival in Gstaad with cellist Sol Gabbetta. The rains had started during our rehearsal and the festival tent was like a sauna. The orchestra sweated its way through Debussy, the Saint-Saens cello concerto and Tchaikovsky #4. The Swiss audience loved the orchestra; hot and humid!

Zubin Mehta made his first statement about the concert at the Proms by thanking the orchestra for “keeping its cool”. Of course it had been Zubin who had waited patiently, completely un-ruffled; first by the protests, then by the audience cheering each expulsion of a protester, and finally by the friendly chants of “out…out…out!” On Saturday night, the orchestra acknowledged Zubin’s leadership with its applause for its music director.

In today’s age of instant communication, news of the protest had appeared on an orchestra member’s FaceBook page before the second piece was completed, the orchestra blog was updated with a report and photograph an hour after the concert ended, and member of management Yoel Abbadi had given a statement to a Ynet reporter the next morning at Heathrow Airport.

Gstaad is in the center of the Vaudoises Alps, and most of the orchestra was housed nearby Les Diablerets, a resort village. Before the weather became rainy, one group of adventurous musicians took the cable car up to 3000 meters to walk on the Glacier Diableret, and others hiked the surrounding hills. There were also bikers and runners who took advantage of some free time.

 

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